GOP Bill Tries To Drive Wedge Between Undocumented Servicemembers And Undocumented College Students

During Monday night’s debate, the two Republican presidential front runners voiced their support for a modified DREAM Act that covers only those undocumented immigrants who are willing to serve in the United States military, and not those who attend a college or university in pursuit of a degree.

Now, a Florida Republican has introduced a bill to do just that:

Inspired by Monday night’s Republican presidential debate over immigration, Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, filed a bill that would give young people who serve in the military — not college students — a path to U.S. citizenship.

“If somebody is willing to die for America, then certainly they deserve a chance at life in America,” Rivera said.

Rivera’s plan is called the Adjusted Residency for Military Service Act — the ARMS Act. It’s a variation on the DREAM Act, which would grant legal status to some children of undocumented immigrants who were brought illegally to the United States by their parents.

The new push for a military-only version of the DREAM Act is a not terribly subtle attempt by the Republican presidential nominees to create a wedge between military DREAMers and the college student DREAMers who have been lobbying for the bill for years. Rep. Rivera says that he is introducing the bill because it is all that Congress will likely be able to pass, even though polls show the DREAM Act has overwhelming support from every demographic, including Republicans.

Romney, Gingrich and Rep. Rivera are also at odds with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who yesterday said that immigration was a “secret weapon for economic competitiveness,” a view shared by President Obama during his State of the Union address on Tuesday.